THE perils of smoking were in the spotlight at a Bury and Rochdale Health Authority meeting last week.

A new report covering a wide range of smoking-related issues was discussed.

The document has reinforced a number of health concerns. Among the key findings were:

Smoking adversely affects foetal growth and the outcome of pregnancy.

An estimated 18 per cent of coronary heart disease deaths are smoking related.

Smokers face twice the risk of death from this disease than non-smokers.

At the meeting, held at the health authority premises in Silver Street, Bury, calls were made for the Government to take a lead in encouraging people to cut smoking out.

The report highlighted the rising number of girls aged between 11 and 15 who smoke.

Particular efforts will now be made to encourage girls - and pregnant women - to kick the habit.

Several measures were suggested at the meeting which could possibly help to reduce the number of smokers in Bury, they were:

Increasing the price of cigarettes.

Banning cigarette advertising.

Making it an offence to smoke in a public place.

Introducing nicotine replacement therapy on a wide scale.

Bosses heard that when GPs suggest that people should quit smoking, only two per cent of people do. But the uptake rate rises to 12 per cent when the advice is backed with nicotine replacement therapy.

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